Gray's Lake : May 07, 2008

Gray's Lake
Image Data
File Name: 20D_22368
Model: Canon EOS 20D
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5 USM
Date: 05.06.08 7:34pm
Focal Length: 10mm (16mm)
Shutter: 1/200 s
F-Stop: F8
ISO: 400
Ex Bias: +2/3
Program: Aperture priority
Metering Mode: Evaluative
Flash: Off
Focus Mode: One shot AF

Gray's Lake

Comments: 0   Views: 527   Like/Fave (42)   Des Moines
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The area that is today’s Gray’s Lake Park was part of the ever-changing course of the Raccoon River. Left behind after one such change in the Raccoon was an oxbow (small pond, I guess) that would become Gray’s Lake Park. T.E. Brown sold 79 acres on the eastern edge of his property to Gaylord E. Gray. With concrete just coming of age, Gray had the idea of mining sand and gravel out of this lake. This mining that started in 1917 caused the oxbow to increase in size, eventually forming a 100-acre lake. The last large project of the mining operation was the concrete for the main runway at the Des Moines International Airport.

About this time, aerial photographs were being made of the city and the large body of water needed to be named on the map. People had started referring to it as Gray’s Lake due to the partial ownership of the Gray family members, so the name was adopted. After the quarry operations ended, Des Moines Marine Company leased the eastern half to operate Marine Beach. In 1959, a Holiday Inn Motel was built on the southwest corner, setting the stage for commercial development.

Compelling arguments and persistence encouraged action for the use of the lake as a park. A grant was secured from the Federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, along with other funds. On April 28, 1970, Gray’s Lake was dedicated as a city park.

The floods of '93 destroyed the Holiday Inn and for years, the abandoned and partially demolished building remained. In 1998 a pledge of $1.5 million was made for a trail around the lake. Connecting the trail on the south edge of the lake is a 1/4 mile pedestrian bridge, the only one of its kind in the Midwest. Illuminated with colored lights, it is very recognizable and photographed waaaay to much.

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